On October 21, CPRS Edmonton hosted an engaging panel discussion with Dan VanKeeken, vice-president for institutional advancement at The King’s University and Kimberly Uniat, associate director of marketing and communications from the Office of the Registrar at the University of Alberta. The session covered a wide range of topics including marketing, recruitment, issues management, innovation, adapting to the rising expectations of students and strategies for communicating in the crowded post-secondary landscape.
- Empower your staff, alumni and current students to become brand Ambassadors—endorsements are more impactful when coming from someone who’s already part of university life.
- Customize your messages to each specific audience and understand their unique needs.
- Leverage your digital media accounts to prevent social media fatigue. For instance, more informative messages may be better suited to Facebook, while exciting event images will have greater impact on Instagram.
- Face-to-face, in-person communications are still important. Students gain a more realistic perspective when talking with staff on campus. For example, an Open House allows prospective students the opportunity to learn more about programs, services and student life.
- Honesty is the best policy. The main goal is not to sell or to push, but to be as genuine and authentic as possible.
- Social media has changed the way trends are predicted because it’s immediate and easy to measure.
- Millennials and Gen Z will seek out information online, from family members or friends and instructors; while parents may still prefer the traditional print calendar.
Post-secondary institutions must continually innovate and adapt in order to reach prospective students, and be more open to two-way communications channels. Online and digital marketing strategies appear to have more value than traditional methods. And, capitalizing on and predicting new trends is the key to staying relevant to Millennials and Gen Z. The communications landscape is continually evolving, and so is the face of post-secondary communications—one Snapchat account at a time.
Written by Karen Gill
Programming Co-chair, CPRS Edmonton Board